When the internet boomed early in the new millennium, there were few leaders in “white hat,” ethical search-engine optimization practices. Top of the List was a pioneer for clients in the “wild west” of the world wide web, adapting to customer needs by adding services like local search optimization and social media consulting.
But over the years, owner Beverly Mapes found her passion for the business dwindling. “Before shutting the doors, though, I thought it might be worth my time to talk to [SCORE] and learn more about the possibly selling the business first,” Mapes says. “After all, we do have some very good, dedicated clients who would like to stay on with us.”
Mapes met with volunteer mentor Daniel Butler to discuss all aspects of selling a business. Butler recommended an assessment to determine Top of the List’s value, so Mapes prepared financial reports for the past several years for Butler’s review. He prepared a financial trend report.
“That was an eye-opener,” Mapes says. “I thought it would be necessary to wait a few years to try to show better ROI for the business before trying to sell.” As she neared retirement and began focusing on a new business venture, Mapes wasn’t sure if she wanted to put effort into further developing Top of the List.
Throughout that process, Mapes noticed her daughter, who was also a long-term employee, gaining interested in purchasing the business. It was the ideal answer to Mapes’ concerns: her daughter knew the business, had the energy to innovate, and already had a relationship with many of the company’s clients.
“Daniel walked us through as much as he could regarding next steps in selling the business,” Mapes says. “Things are own their way to a more desirable future for all.”